DayBreaks for 9/15/14: A Dying Psalmist’s Final Message

DayBreaks for 9/15/14 – A Dying Psalmist’s Final Message

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Harp at the entry to the City of David archaeological site, Jerusalem. Galen C. Dalrymple, August 2014

I suspect that we have all imagined the end of our lives: what will it be like?  What will I feel?  What will I think?  Where will I be?  What will be my final words?  What will the legacy I leave behind be like?

We are probably less prone to think about the last days of the lives of others – especially those we have never met and who may have lived long before us.  What were the final days of Adam like as he looked back on his life?  Noah?  Abraham?  Moses?

We don’t really know in may cases, though we have a hint with some of the ancient Bible characters.  We have some of Moses’ final words in his charge to Israel – and the same is true with his successor, Joshua.  We know Jesus’ last words.  Whether or not you realize it, we have something close to that with the Psalmist, David.

As he sat down his harp and quill for the last time, as he contemplated his life in the rear-view mirror, what might he have been thinking?  I would imagine his mind swept back over the decades to the early days in the field with the flocks and with battle with wild animals he killed while defending the sheep.  Certainly, he would have thought of the famous encounter with Goliath…the first person he killed and a great victory by any measure.  He may would have perhaps relived the pursuit by Saul, the first stirrings of love for his first wife.  And, then, things would have changed. 

His mind would have replayed the infidelity with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah, the death of the son, the rape of his daughter by her brother, the rebellion of Absalom as he tried to wrest the throne from his father.  David would have considered the suffering and deaths of thousands that God visited upon Israel for David trusting in the might of the army instead of God. 

So, what would David’s final Psalm have to say?  Psalm 145 is believed to be the last of the psalms that were written by the shepherd-singer-warrior-king.  Does David bemoan his mistakes?  Does he confess to God his wrong-doings and plead for mercy? 

No.  Assuming that David wrote this very near the end of his long life, he doesn’t have time for that.  As he senses the coming inevitability, there is only time for what is most important and the words begin to flow from his pen: Psalm 145:1-3 (NLT) I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.

The scarred and weary king has only one thing on his mind: the greatness of God.  And he should know.  David doesn’t seem to have a shred of a doubt about God and about what would happen to his own soul, in spite of his failure and sin.  Why?  Because he knew this God – a God of greatness, a God full of compassion and mercy (read on in the psalm to see these things).

I can only hope and pray that I, when my time comes, will be able to look back at my life and see it in its full sweep and know that, in spite of my failings, God will not fail me when I draw my last breath.  I only hope and pray that I will know Him well enough that I will rest easy in His promises to be faithful, in His love for me, and the truth of His forgiveness.  As with David, it won’t be because I deserve it, but because of one thing and one things only: He is good!

PRAYER: God, how great and wonderful You are!  May our final hours be filled with Your praise and let us proclaim Your goodness and greatness with our final breath!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 7/24/14 – Look Up and Be Re-sized!

DayBreaks for 7/24/14 – Look Up and Be Re-sized

From the DayBreaks archive, 7/23/2004:

We live in a culture that appreciates big, powerful things.  It wasn’t enough just to build a memorial at Ground Zero in New York City.  No, they had to come up with a design that resulted in another huge, massive building.  We look admiringly at powerful women and men – whether they are sports figures, actors/actresses, politicians or business folk.  We are captivated by greatness and grandeur.

Psalm 8:3-4 (NLT)  – When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you have set in place—what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?

You see, I think that our attraction to greatness is part of what God put in us that was intended to lead us to seek Him.  Sadly, as with all other God-given abilities, even this one can be perverted into something unrecognizable.  But as David, as a young shepherd laying in the fields at night, lifted his eyes to the heavens, he was struck with the incredible greatness of the Creator.  David had no idea how many stars there were, let alone how many galaxies.  He had no concept of the light-year, nor of the incredibly vast distances that had been traveled by the light of the stars that fell on his retina.  But that’s OK – he didn’t need to have that kind of understanding.  Just seeing the night sky was enough, and when David looked up, he was resized.

It may have been the day that David slew the lion that he looked up at the stars and wondered about why God should care for us.  He may have just had the most successful day of his life.  Or he may have had his worst.  Either way, when we look upward toward God, we are inevitably resized into a better perspective of ourselves.  We are not the almighty – only He is Almighty.  We are not even very good, let alone great.  But God! – well now, He’s something else! 

And why should He care for us?  Several reasons I should think:

1. He made us and is therefore responsible for us in a real moralistic sense;

2. He gave us a spirit, an eternal soul, that is unique among His creation (as far as we know), and that makes us special;

3. He made us to “look” like Himself – a huge compliment that was not paid to the stars or moon or sun;

4. He loves us beyond reason and beyond our ability to hope or understand.

But the key point of this DayBreaks isn’t what makes us special – except that God thinks we are special.  That we matter to Him, that He thinks about us and cares for us.

No matter what kind of day you have today, let me encourage you tonight to go outside with a blanket and lay down on the grass and look up at the stars and think about God.  Go ahead – don’t worry about what the neighbors will think!  Get lost in the wonder of His greatness.  You just may sleep better tonight as a result!

PRAYER: Fill our hearts with Your Spirit that we may have not only your mind, but also your heart!  Let glory come to You from what people see flowing forth from our hearts!.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support.  DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!

Your support would be deeply appreciated!

 

DayBreaks for 2/26/14 – In the Presence of Greatness

DayBreaks for 2/26/14 – In the Presence of Greatness

Matthew 17:2-8 (NIV) – There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4  Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” 6  When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7  But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8  When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

In the summer of 1941, Sergeant James Allen Ward was awarded the Victoria Cross for climbing out onto the wing of his Wellington bomber at 13,000 feet above ground to extinguish a fire in the starboard engine. Secured only by a rope around his waist, he managed to smother the fire and return along the wing to the aircraft’s cabin. Winston Churchill, an admirer as well as a performer of swashbuckling exploits, summoned the shy New Zealander to 10 Downing Street. Ward, struck dumb with awe in Churchill’s presence, was unable to answer the prime minister’s questions. Churchill surveyed the unhappy hero with some compassion.

“You must feel very humble and awkward in my presence,” he said.

“Yes, Sir,” managed Ward.

“Then you can imagine how humble and awkward I feel in yours,” returned Churchill.

Churchill knew he was in the presence of a real hero. On top of that mountain long ago, the disciples realized they were in the presence of greatness. In fact, they knew they were in the presence of someone whose significance went beyond celebrity, even beyond heroic. He was their Lord, their Master, their King.

We have not stood on top of the mountain top nor have we seen the transfiguration of the Son of God. Yet we are no less in His Presence every moment of every day. He watches, He sees, He shines with glory and power. All heaven and earth are in subjection to Him and when He chooses to exert His authority and power none can resist. He deserves our worship and our obedience. We will one day stand before Him to give an answer for how we lived our lives. And He will determine our fate.

Let us live soberly in His Presence!

PRAYER: Jesus, there is no one like you, deserving of worship and praise and our full obedience! Give us a glimpse of your greatness and awareness of your presence as we live this day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 02/13/14 – Disappointment #8 – Why Not Me?

DayBreaks for 2/13/14 – Disappointment #8 – Why Not Me?

1 Cor. 4:7: For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

The gospels are not flattering when it comes to the disciples. In particular, think of the Last Supper when they argued about who would be greatest and who would/should (at least in their opinion) have the seat of honor. It’s an ugly scene. Yet, we are not that different. When someone else is given an honor, when they are given a blessing (a baby, job, promotion, grade, house, car) that we’ve longed for ourselves, we ask, “Why them and not me?”

We think that it could have been us, and in fact, we think it should have been us. We deserved it…they didn’t. What are we to do and think about this?

First, we need to realize that we have what John Koessler (The Surprising Grace of Disappointment) called “spiritual myopia” that restricts our vision, causing us to focus only on the present. We want to know, like the disciples, where we stand when compared to others. He goes further to say that spiritual myopia is a symptom of a worse disease: spiritual narcissism. In such a “disease” the goal is not to be good, or the best, but rather simply to be better than someone else (and seen and recognized for it). He suggests that the pleasure we get from comparing ourselves to others isn’t so much a joy about our own greatness, but at diminishing someone else in comparison.

Another common mistake is when we think what is significant to us is what is also significant to God. We know Scripture says that our thoughts are not like His, nor our ways like His. So, how are we to know what is truly significant in His eyes? We don’t know which acts of love and service are greatest in His estimation. Who would have ever guessed that it would the one who humbles themselves that will be exalted, or giving a cup of cold water was like giving Jesus a drink on the cross??? We need to realize that it hard to attempt to do great things for God when we cannot even tell the least from the greatest.

We want to do something great. As we get older and the life’s clock ticks loudly in our ears, we scrutinize our past and are dismayed by what we may see. We want the time we have left to really count for something. We want our life to have mattered. Yet God may consign you or I to being a hotel cleaning maid or a toilet bowl cleaner in a bus stop or train station. We look around and see people doing things we think are great for Him and think, “Why not me, God? Why did You give me such a cruddy life and job?”

Theologian Stanley Hauerwas suggested that the moral value of our lives may well be how we live our every day lives doing what we have been given to do.  Koessler summarized his thoughts this way: “..we who are immersed in the everyday are often blind to its real spiritual value. Because it is common, it is not holy.  Because it is ours, it is not insignificant. Instead of sanctifying the dull present, we dream of a more dynamic reality…we ignore the ordinary in the hope that we will be called to some higher purpose. Because we are waiting for God to do some great thing through us we are dismissive of the small thing that He actually intends us to do.”

God sees things differently than we do. His eye is much sharper than our vision when it comes to a correct assessment of what we have done and are doing. Ultimately, the glory for anything we ever achieve really belongs to Him who made us, gifted us and empowers us.

Disappointed in your station in life and who you are? Hear these encouraging words from John Koessler: …things are not what they seem  Our heroes are not God’s heroes. We are not the great ones we thought we were.  Our successes are not as successful as we thought. But if that is so, then perhaps it also means that our failures are not so disastrous.

What is more, Christ promises that the day is coming when He will invest our service for God with His own glory and present it to the Father on our behalf. Only then, after what we have done has been bathed in the glow of Christ’s love and grace, will we be competent to evaluate the true value of all we have done…on that day we are liable to find that our measure of who is the greatest in the kingdom of God is wrong.

I suspect that we are in for a great surprise when we see the seating arrangement in heaven…we will acknowledge that God’s judgment is right and laugh, perhaps a little sadly, at the foolishness of all our posturing on this side of glory.

PRAYER: What foolish judges we are, Father, to think we know what is right and best and most worthy, blinded as we are by our sinful selfishness! May we be content to wait to see Your judgment on what we have done once you have invested it with your glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help Galen in his ministry work, you can donate on his behalf.  Donations (one-time or recurring) may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation.  If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with both the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Guidestar.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 08/28/13 – The Invisible Man

DayBreaks for 08/28/13 – The Invisible Man

Isaiah 48:8 (NIV) – You have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ear has not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birth.

The Pharisees and other leaders intently watched Jesus and heard his words but they could not see his meaning. They could not see the issues as Jesus saw them, so they set themselves against him rather than making an alliance with him. They were so hung up on rules, laws and ceremonies, that they missed the heart of faith: God’s forgiving love that frees one to live as son or daughter of God.

It’s similar to the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. We know Bach as one of the genius musical masters of all time. But it was not so for his contemporaries. The parishioners at St. Thomas Church where he worshipped and composed often complained about the strange and innovative music that Bach wrote for the choir and organ each Sunday. They didn’t know what a gifted musician was in their midst. After his death, the music of Bach was seldom performed until Felix Mendelssohn began a revival of appreciation that has lasted into our own time. So the people of Bach’s time watched him, but they didn’t see him. 

Wallace Kirby suggests this: “I would insist that we have a good understanding of Jesus and what he was about but I don’t think we have great insight. Christians today must be careful in their confidence. We can know that we are saved but we never know if our behavior is completely acceptable. We watch Jesus, but we do not see him. We are acquainted with him, but his rich meaning is not yet part of our lives. Occasionally we confess this when we sing in worship: 

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord; open the eyes of my heart.  I want to see You, I want to see You.”

Our overarching confidence can be a symptom of deep pride.  We may choose not to see Jesus as He is because it would require changes within us.  We may not see him because we are just too busy to take the time.  I think we can only see so much of him because it is like saying, “I saw Mt. Everest” when you only have seen it from one side, and in fact can only see it from one side at a time.  There is too much of Jesus to take in with our earthly vision, but we should try to humbly see, hear and understand him for all he’s worth!

PRAYER: We do ask You to open our eyes so we can see more of your truth and beauty each day, Lord!  In Your name, Amen.

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and raises his own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this link: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html.  Look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section then click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.  All donations are tax deductible as MAI is a 501.c.3 organization certified with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Thank you!

DayBreaks for 05/28/13 – The God of Huge Dimensions

DayBreaks for 05/28/13 – The God of Huge Dimensions

immensityNOTE: I am back but weary!  New DayBreaks will resume no later than the first week of June, 2013!  Thanks for your prayers while I was away!!!

As humans we like to measure things.  We measure baseball statistics, we measure distances in miles and kilometers, we have scales in our bathrooms to measure our weight, we give or get grades in school to measure our learning and progress.  We have polls that determine what our politicians will do – all based on measuring opinions of the voting public.  There is something about measuring things that seems to give us a sense of control in some way or fashion.  But when it comes to God, we run into a real problem.

Lift up your eyes and look.  Who made these stars if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name?  So mighty is His power, so great His strength, that not one fails to answer.” (Isa. 40:26)

The sun is one of these stars that Isaiah wrote about.  Did you know that a single square yard of the sun produces 130,000 horsepower (oops – there’s a measurement again!) of energy constantly?  The sun is one of the 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy – and that’s just one of the billions of galaxies in the entire universe.  The nine major planets in the solar system vary in range from 36 million miles to 3.6665 billion miles – yet each moves in exact precision in it’s orbit around the sun.  Did you know that if you took a single dime and held it out at arms length on a starry night, that the area of the sky that is obscured from your vision by the dime contains 15 million stars (your eye just can’t see them all)?!?!

What’s the point?  We measure things about God’s creation and we are amazed.  We are amazed with His greatness, His immense “largeness” as evidenced by the immensity of His creation.  We are dazzled, mesmerized and astounded – and we should be.  But when it comes to other things about God, we seem to have a really hard time in believing He is so large.  What do I mean?  Simply this, as Brennan Manning wrote: “We tremble before God’s majesty…and yet we grow squeamish and skittish before God’s love.”  For some reason, we have a hard time getting our minds around the concept that the God who has demonstrated His greatness and power in the creation can love ME.  And so, because we can’t believe that His love could possibly be as big as His universe, that He could possibly love ‘a worm like me”, we diminish God’s love by believing it is dependent on our Christian lives of ordered perfection.  Perhaps it is because we ourselves love so little and so poorly that we begin to assume that God is like us.  He isn’t.

Yahweh, our Lord, how great is your name throughout the earth.  Above the heavens is your majesty chanted, by the mouths of children, babes in arms.  I look up at the heavens made by your fingers, at the moon and the stars you set in place – ah, what is man that you should spare a thought for him, the son of man that you should care for him?”  (Ps. 8)  As hard as it may be to believe that God cares (and loves!) you with a love that is wider than the universe (literally), if there is one truth of the bible – one amazingly nearly unbelievable truth – it is this one: that God loves you (and me) endlessly.

Copyright 2002 by Galen C. Dalrymple.  ><}}}”>

Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

To subscribe to DayBreaks, use this link: https://daybreaksdevotions.wordpress.com and click on the Subscribe button at the right of the page.  If you wish to unsubscribe, at the bottom of each email you receive about DayBreaks, you should find an “Unsubscribe” ink at the bottom of the email.

NOTE: Galen has started working with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) (medicalambassadors.org) and is responsible for raising own support.  DayBreaks is free – and will remain so – but if you wish to help support Galen in his ministry work with MAI, you can make a donation on his behalf.  One-time donations may be made by going to this linke: http://www.medicalambassadors.org/donate.html and look down the left side of the page until you find the SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section.  Then look for “Galen Dalrymple”.  Click his name and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can donate to his support.  If you wish to make a recurring donation, contact suzette@med-amb.org or call her at 209-543-7500 ext. 219.  You can also write a check to Medical Ambassadors International (a 501.c.3 non-profit – meaning your donations are deductible) and put S090 in the Memo field.  Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368.

Medical Ambassadors International is a 501.c.3 organization that has been serving the needy, sharing the gospel and helping them become self-sufficient for 32 years.  Check them out!  They are also members of ECFA (the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). Your support is greatly appreciated!!!!  Thank you!